We all experience a variety of emotions and feelings when bring up the topic of money and money management. Anxiety, fear, despair, excitement, happiness, and contentment can all be part of an emotional equation. Keeping your emotions in check when money is (or isn't) in your bank account can be a challenging process. We worry for our futures and our immediate needs. Balancing your emotional checking account and your financial one are equally important.
Our spending habits typically mirror our emotional state and projections of self-worth, and thus money becomes a stand-in for how we're feeling, helping us express those feelings. We tend to spend more when we are sad. Research has found that negative emotions hit us with an intensity that's two-and-a-half times as strong as positive emotions because they are signaling a disturbance you should tend to," says Maggie Baker, Ph.D., author of Crazy About Money: How Emotions Confuse Our Money Choices and What to Do.
After a financial and emotional catastrophe, whether due to divorce, medical woes or an unexpected need for a large purchase, it can feel like you will never get on your feet again. Money has tremendous power over us as individuals, and being in too much debt can cause strong physical, mental and emotional responses.
Many will argue that the decisions they have made or the way they handle their finances is based on logic. But when we peel back the onion, a layer of logic is most often missing with emotions reigning king. Adjusting your perspective or simply becoming aware of any negative thought patterns and limiting belief systems can move you forward in changing the way you both manage and perceive money.
Here is an exercise that might be helpful to you:
Grab a blank sheet of paper.
Draw out your family tree.
Go through your lineage to determine the following: Occupation? Saver? Spender? Attitudes around money?
It is fascinating to see how this simple exercise can provide clarity to the financial patterns that may be passed down from generation-to-generation.
Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. --Ayn Rand